A valid question worth considering is asked in the “Discussion Questions” section on p. 64 of the Gospel Advocate’s Foundations Adult Bible study book for Galatians (Summer 2018, Lesson 5, The Works of Law or of Faith).
The reason the question is valid is because the answers still apply to individuals today. It asks, “Why do you think the Galatians had turned (or were contemplating turning) from the gospel message Paul preached to them?”
The answers are bit subjective for obvious reasons but the question is rooted in reality. Why do people, who have obeyed the truth, turn from the trustworthy to the untrustworthy? Let me share a few answers.
- The Galatians were “somewhat new” to the religion of Christianity. Perhaps this different version of the gospel scratched their itching ears in some way (2 Timothy 4:3; Galatians 4:10). Familiarity can be good thing, but it can also become a stumbling block. Such has happened in the past, and continues to happen with the “installation” of “Christian holy days” meant to replace pagan holiday days. Being new to Christianity introduces great emotions into our lives, but these emotions can also become a weakness if we’re not careful.
- The presence of very persuasive false teachers could have also played a large factor in the Galatian’s situation. We know the false teachers had the desire (Galatians 4:17) and, according to the results they were getting, it seems as if they had the talent. Such is also the case today with charismatic and linguistically skilled people who present doctrines that blatantly reject the first principles of the gospel.
- The absence of sound teachers seems to be a possible contributing factor to the aforementioned work of false teachers. Dangers abound and wolves feast in the absence of a shepherd’s guidance. Consider the fact, unlike in other epistles, that Paul did not mention any laborers by name in the Galatian letter and that may be a clue concerning the leadership situation the churches of Galatia had on their hands. Sound teaching is not optional! (1 Timothy 1:10; 2 Timothy 1:13, 2:2; Titus 1:7-9, 2:1) Its absence will become a detriment that can and will lead to deception in any congregation.